Construction began Friday on a project aimed at restoring around 125 acres of coastal wetlands and salt marsh habitat in the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The Otay River Estuary Restoration Project, a joint effort of desalination developer Poseidon Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies, seeks to restore salt ponds located within the refuge in order to create new habitat for native fish, wildlife and plant species.
Among the species most impacted by the loss of coastal habitats are migratory shorebirds and other salt marsh-dependent species, according to officials.
The project serves as a mitigation effort to lessen the impacts on marine life following the opening of Poseidon’s Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant.
Poseidon President Sachin Chawla said, “We remain committed to being stewards of the environment and helping San Diego County have a sustainable and local water supply for decades.”
The project is expected to be completed in about four years, according to Poseidon.
Restoration will occur at two locations:
- On 34 acres east of 13th Street near Imperial Beach within the Otay River Floodplain
- On approximately 91 acres of an existing solar salt pond west of the intersection of Bay Boulevard and Palomar Street in Chula Vista
“It is more important now than ever to protect and preserve our coastal environment,” said George Dowden, president of the Friends of San Diego Wildlife Refuges. “We applaud Poseidon and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their continued dedication to preserving our beautiful coastline and promoting environmental sustainability.”
City News Service contributed to this article.